The genetics point to a history of cat domestication that fits conventional wisdom in zoology from non-genetic evidence.
Cat domestication likely initiated as a symbiotic relationship between wildcats (Felis silvestris subspecies) and the peoples of developing agrarian societies in the Fertile Crescent. As humans transitioned from hunter-gatherers to farmers ~12,000 years ago, bold wildcats likely capitalized on increased prey density (i.e., rodents). Humans benefited from the cats’ predation on these vermin. To refine the site(s) of cat domestication, over 1000 random-bred cats of primarily Eurasian descent were genotyped for single-nucleotide variants and short tandem repeats. The overall cat population structure suggested a single worldwide population with significant isolation by the distance of peripheral subpopulations. The cat population heterozygosity decreased as genetic distance from the proposed cat progenitor’s (F.s. lybica) natural habitat increased. Domestic cat origins are focused in the eastern Mediterranean Basin, spreading to nearby islands, and southernly via the Levantine coast into the Nile Valley. Cat population diversity supports the migration patterns of humans and other symbiotic species
Sara M. Nilson, et al. "Genetics of randomly bred cats support the cradle of cat domestication being in the Near East." 129 (6) Heredity 346 (2022) DOI: 10.1038/s41437-022-00568-4